When it comes to reaching your target customers with content that delivers exactly on what they’re looking for—and positioning your business as the go-to thought leader—empathy is your biggest weapon.
Gone are the days when B2B companies were forced to stick to boring writing styles and strictly-informational content pieces that would get attention at first, then fizzle away.
Content marketing has evolved. Your customers are getting smarter.
People are expecting more out of B2B companies, similar to how online shoppers have pushed direct-to-consumer brands to supercharge their content marketing with empathetic, human-driven messaging.
Despite what this looks like on the surface, this is no different with B2B marketing. You’re still selling your product or service to people.
And so, your content marketing should leverage what your people are thinking about, wishing for, and wanting to accomplish—and position your content as a stepping stone that understands them.
B2B companies taking advantage of empathetic content marketing understand the power of empathy and how to utilize it across all marketing channels: from blog post content, to email marketing, to social media, and website pages.
As a CEO or VP at your B2B startup, you may already know your target prospects in detail. However, empathetic marketing is about so much more than just putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- How do I figure out what my customer thinks, feels, and wants?
- What should my business look and sound like to match my content?
- How do I direct my team to create empathy-focused content?
While this may be daunting to think about at first, the minutes it will take you to learn about the power of empathy-driven marketing for your business will be substantial.
By the time you’re done reading this blog post, you’ll have a sharper understanding of empathetic content marketing, how to get into your audience’s head, and how you can direct your content team to plan, write, and consistently deliver empathetic marketing content.
Once you implement these strategies, you’ll have more targeted prospects consuming your content who actually feel like you understand them—leading to more signups, sales, traffic to your blog, and better website conversions.
Now, let’s take a look at where every B2B company should start before writing a lick of content: identifying (and understanding) your customer.
1. Identify Prospect Pain Points & Desires
Whether you already deeply understand your audience’s desires or not, it’s important you use this to influence your content marketing strategy.
For example, picture your company as a SaaS tax solution for small businesses.
Even if one of your warm prospects—let’s call her Martha Moneybags—is interested in signing up for your app because she needs to get ahold of her company’s taxes, she’s not going to opt-in if you’re offering dozens of free lead magnets without any purpose.
It’s true that B2B prospects want free content and are often open to accepting gated content in exchange for email list signups and webinars. However, if you’re creating content specifically for the point of creating content, you’re not listening to Martha’s pain points and desires at all.
If you’re a SaaS tax solution company offering white papers and checklists focusing only on tax advice, and not honing in on specific problems your customers have, you’re missing the mark.
For example, instead of titling your white paper or eBook, Tax Season Statistics for 2021, consider a topic and title more along the lines of: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying & Crunching Down Taxes For Your Small Business.
While the first example may include some useful information, Martha is going to feel much less compelled to download it because it doesn’t immediately connect with her. Creating your content around exactly what your audience wants is key, and your copywriting should reflect that.
If you’re not sure about where you stand with your target prospects, ask yourself the following questions:
- What problem does my product/service solve for my customers?
- What transformation point am I promising with my product/service?
- When my customers search for my business, what are they looking for?
- What will my customers’ lives be like after they use my product/service?
- What customer-focused subtopics are associated with my industry?
Answering these questions will help you define exactly what pain points you need to address in not only your marketing content, but your entire marketing collateral.
2. Optimize Your Copy with Personality
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just create an empathy-driven content strategy. You need to adapt these principles across all touchpoints of your brand. This will create a connection between you and your audience.
Every unique prospect will download a lead magnet from you, remember who and what helped them solve their problems, and attribute specific cues to their experience.
Does your business’s personality reflect your audience? If not, it should. Good companies never talk about themselves, and this includes their content.
The smartest companies know how to position themselves as the guide to the customer, and not the hero of the buyer’s story. You want to make sure you’re there to help each prospect fulfill their goals and solve their pain points.
For every content piece you create, you’ll want to build a relationship with them.
B2B marketing is all about developing those connections and creating funnels for each relationship, as no two people are going through the same journey entirely. You can be informational, and still pack your brand’s personality into the mix.
Are you more refined, higher-end, and classy? Or are you more casual, willing to take a conversational approach with your customers? No matter what industry you occupy, your brand voice, tone and messaging will come off as more human.
If you haven’t touched on this yet, get together with your team and discuss these questions:
- What voice, tone, and messaging are our competitors using in their content?
- What emotions are we trying to get out of our customers through our content?
- If our brand were to introduce themselves to our customer, what would they say?
Starting with these questions can help you get on the right track to start shifting your content to reflect your audience as a priority.
3. Write For Your Audience, Not For You
Humans are much more willing to converse and engage in relationships with other people, rather than robots.
When you’re writing a white paper, eBook, social media post, or drafting a case study, think of how your audience is going to respond.
Consider the following example:
When Martha Moneybanks downloads a case study to read, is she learning about how great your brand is, and how amazing of a job you did… but not getting anything out of the experience for the customer?
If so, your content is only describing what you did, not how you helped your customer grow. Use your customer research (reviews, emails, social posts, etc.) to help you figure out what content to write, and how you should deliver them to your audience.
Not every B2B company should create dozens of white papers all the time, especially if their type of audience isn’t going to read them.
4. It’s Time to Create (and Manage) Your Content
Empathy-focused marketing content has to start internally.
Now that you’ve learned how to create marketing content that embraces empathy, you’ll be able to implement these strategies into creating consistent content your audience will gravitate towards.
The true benefit to this is learning to speak in your customer’s language. Knowing how they think, talk, and feel should influence how you write and deliver your content.
When it comes to creating a content plan with your team—or outsourcing to a team of content marketing experts—it’s important to know who’s responsible for what.
- Who will be in charge of research, data-mining, and customer review research?
- Who will handle collaboration processes between the sales team and marketers?
- Are your content writers and copywriters using the same guideline for your buyer personas and brand personality details?
This strategy, while extremely effective and absolutely essential in modern B2B marketing, is a time-consuming process. You could internally manage creating all of this empathy-focused content yourself, or you could outsource to experts, like Audience Ops.
Audience Ops is an ever-growing team of experts who specialize in crafting valuable, emotionally intelligent content tailored specifically to your business.
Instead of shouldering this all yourself, trust your new empathy-driven content creation efforts to a reliable source, so you can focus on your position as the leading voice in your company.
Interested in hitting your content marketing goals without the added stress? Schedule a free consultation with Audience Ops today.